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DoD Reaches Out to Talented Minorities for Military, Civilian Workforce

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2005 – The Defense Department is reaching out to minorities to make them more aware of career and business opportunities within the department, a senior defense equal opportunity official said Nov. 2.

National race and ethnic demographics reflect a rapidly growing minority proportion, said Clarence A. Johnson, principal director for equal opportunity in the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

"As America grows more diverse every year, so does its armed forces," he said at the Minority Serving Institutions Research Partnerships Conference, in Chicago, according to a copy of remarks he made.

DoD participates in these conferences as a means of reaching out to talented youth from all segments of society and to enhance the department's capacity to recruit military and civilian employees, the retired Air Force colonel said.

"We think our participation in conference activities helps to create a pool of potential future employees who have had positive, meaningful experiences with DoD military and civilian personnel sparking them to consider DoD as their employer of choice," Johnson said.

Defense officials especially want to convey to young people how important and needed people with academic backgrounds in engineering, math and science are, he said. Johnson added that the U.S. forecast for the production of engineers and scientists is bleak.

A background in science and technology opens several windows of opportunity for an individual, to include appointment to a military service academy or employment as a DoD scientist, engineer or researcher, he said.

"Not only is the science and engineering work group the second largest among DoD's 700,000-strong work force, it is also the career that has high potential for rising to the senior leadership positions," he added.

"Further," Johnson said, "we're not convinced that parents and those who influence the decisions of young people are always aware of the wide variety of career choices within the military or the wide array of civilian jobs available within the department."

He pointed out that careers in the Department of Defense are challenging, fulfilling and beneficial and that public service carries its own rewards.

The goal of the Minority Serving Institutions Research Partnerships Conference is to encourage, create and support the alliance between academic institutions, government and the private sector. DoD's support of the conference included hosting an exhibition and observance luncheon focused on student participation, staffing military and civilian recruiting booths and displays in the exhibit hall, and providing technical-assistance workshops.

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Clarence A. Johnson

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